Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

What Does the Automatic Transmission/Automatic Gearbox Warning Light Mean?

What Does the Automatic Transmission/Automatic Gearbox Warning Light Mean?

Modern automatic transmissions are full of sensors so that the computer can easily and accurately monitor things like fluid temperature, fluid level, and the overall pressure inside the transmission. Automatic transmissions are very expensive to replace so it is worth the effort to keep it well maintained.

What the automatic transmission light means

If the computer detects any abnormal readings from the sensors, a code will be stored and the automatic transmission indicator light will turn on to alert the driver of possible issues. Malfunctioning sensors will also give false readings causing the light to come on so always have the sensors tested again. One of the most common issues that causes this indicator light to illuminate is that the transmission fluid temperature is higher than normal.

What to do when the automatic transmission light is on

If this light comes on, it should be checked out as soon as possible. As mentioned earlier, automatic transmissions are very expensive to replace and they can sometimes be salvaged if you act quickly and get the necessary repairs done. You will need to scan the car’s computer for any codes to help determine the cause of the issue. You can check the fluid level and condition of your car’s transmission if it has a dipstick, but this won’t always lead you to the cause of the problem.

Is it safe to drive with the automatic transmission light on?

While the car may not drive differently with the light on, you should have the it checked out as soon as possible before any excessive damage occurs. Driving with this indicator light on for long periods of time is likely to cause a lot of wear to the transmission and reducing its lifespan significantly. Some vehicles may go into what’s called a “limp home” mode. Limp mode will limit the vehicle’s top speed to reduce the strain on the transmission.

If your automatic transmission light stays on, our certified technicians are always available to assist you in identifying any issues.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.


Post a question and get free advice from our certified mechanics.


More related articles

P0222 OBD-II Trouble Code: Throttle/Pedal Position Switch/Sensor B Circuit Low Input
P0222 code definition Throttle/Pedal Position Switch/Sensor B Circuit Low Input What the P0222 code means The manufacturer specifies a range of acceptable voltage to be produced from the throttle position...
How to Get a Louisiana Driver's Permit
s licensing program. The first step in this program is to obtain...
P2428 OBD-II Trouble Code: Exhaust Gas Temperature Too High Bank 1
P2428 code definition A P2428 trouble code signifies that the PCM has detected a problem in the exhaust gas temperature sensor circuit in bank 1, which subsequently contains the number one...

Related questions

Q: Engine not reving past 2500 rpm

You will need to have the computer scanned for codes that caused the Check Engine Light to come on. Once the code is diagnosed then you will find out if the fuel is contaminated with water. You may have an...

Q: What does the gas tank open Warning Light mean?

The gas tank open Warning Light is located on the instrument panel, and illuminates when your gas tank has not been properly closed. When this light comes on, close the gas tank door, at which point the light will disappear....

Q: Navigation Screen is black and radio turns off every few minutes.

Hello. Unfortunately there is no reset for this. When this occurs it is because there is a short within the navigation unit. When this occurs it requires that the entire unit be replaced with a new one or a different...